A new report suggests that grinding glass for use in construction projects and water filters will be important in maintaining the growth of glass recycling.
The study commissioned by Recycling Action Yorkshire (RAY) and delivered by Glass Technology Services, concludes that a major investment in collection and processing infrastructure for glass grinding is needed in order to maximise its potential.
The Yorkshire and Humber region is home to the highest concentration of glass manufacturers in the country and accounts for more than 50% of UK container production and 40% of flat glass production.
Illustrating the problem the area faces, glass manufacturers use 495,000 tonnes of material a year; while a mere 10,000 tonnes of recovered glass currently goes into alternative markets in the area.
RAY programme director Andrew Hartley said: “Yorkshire and Humber is ideally placed to help increase glass recycling. It already has the collecting and processing infrastructure in place to serve the glass manufacturing industry and a range of alternative markets, making it the ideal site for a grinding and processing facility.
“In terms of CO2 savings and economics, returning recovered glass to manufacturing furnaces to produce new glass delivers the greatest benefits. However, markets exist for alternative glass products and these will be vital to help absorb the growing tonnages that will remain in the region as exports reach their maximum level and the expansion of collection infrastructure delivers ever growing tonnages.”
The research concluded that the main barrier to increased production is the process costs relative to value.
However, the grinding cost model produced in the report illustrates the potential to produce a range of particle sizes to meet the demands of several different markets such as water filtration and as a flux in brick manufacture.
This helps to maximise the financial return for grinding each tonne and each fraction arising.